GAA Football

Former Tyrone star Ryan McMenamin a 'breath of fresh air' says Fermanagh boss Rory Gallagher

Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher, right, and assistant manager Ryan McMenamin before the Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup Section C Round 3 match between Donegal and Fermanagh
Andy Watters

RYAN McMenamin made several forays onto Brewster Park last Sunday to pass on instructions to Fermanagh players as they locked horns with his native Tyrone.

After the game his former manager Mickey Harte remarked with a smile: “I’m surprised that he can still run and talk” in reference to a typically energetic display from ‘Ricey’ who was an animated presence on the touchline alongside Erne boss Rory Gallagher.

Gallagher was full of praise for the Dromore clubman who he says has been “a breath of fresh air” since he linked up with Fermanagh for pre-season training.

“Maybe the Ricey factor brought the big crowd today?” said Gallagher of the healthy crowd that had packed the stand to watch Tyrone win last Sunday’s Dr McKenna Cup semi-final.

“But seriously, he has been a breath of fresh air, he’s just a really infectious guy and, from a management point of view he’s really easy to deal with and he brings a lot that the boys can learn from and we’re just hoping to get the benefit of him.”

Gallagher and McMenamin would have crossed paths during their playing careers and after taking the reins at his native county the former Donegal manager was quick to invite the Tyrone All-Ireland winner in to work with him and Shane McCabe.

“I was looking for somebody who I felt had the skill sets that might help me and the others in the management team and I had heard a lot about what he had done coaching-wise all his career,” Gallagher explained.

“To me he was a player who made any team he played in better and helped the players around him and we’re hoping he is going to do that for our defenders and people all over the pitch.”

Gallagher and his management team sent out a motivated and fit side on Sunday that stood toe-to-toe with Tyrone physically throughout a gruelling 70 minutes in Enniskillen.

With Roslea forward Seamus Quigley back in the fold alongside Conall Jones and Sean Quigley and Tomas Corrigan, Paul McCusker and Ciaran Corrigan set to return from injury, Fermanagh should not be short of scoring forwards this year.

“We lost Paul before the game and we hope to get Ciaran back, he got a bang on the jaw but he’ll be back in a week or so,” Gallagher explained.

“We have to get Tomas right, he has a wee niggle in his calf and there was no point risking him – we want him back for the start of the League and we’d expect him to be back by then.”

He added: “Seamus (Quigley) looks okay.

“He has worked hard and he’ll have to work hard again. We all know he’s a really talented player and we’re delighted to have him knuckle down training. He’s adjusting to the pace of it all again.”

After an encouraging McKenna Cup campaign produced wins over Division One outfits Monaghan and Donegal, Gallagher and Fermanagh turn their attention to Division Three with optimism.

The Ernemen begin their campaign with home games against Wexford and Offaly before they travel to Sligo. Ulster rivals Armagh and Derry are also in a competitive third tier.

“You don’t go in to come last,” said Gallagher.

“A long time ago I heard Eddie O’Sullivan (former Ireland rugby coach) saying you can’t win the 6 Nations, you can’t win the Grand Slam unless you win the first game. He said that was the vanishing point so we just focus on the first game with Wexford and then Offaly.

“I don’t think anybody could say that Fermanagh are at the level where they could take anyone for granted – far from it.

“We would like to think we can be competitive with anybody and if we continue to improve I’m confident we can do well.”


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